Blackheads : Causes, Prevention and Home Remedies

A blackhead as in Wikipedia, is a yellow or blackish bump or plug on the skin. A blackhead is a type of acne vulgaris. Blackheads are caused by excess oils that have accumulated in the sebaceous gland's duct. The substance found in these bumps mostly consists of keratin and modified sebum (an oily secretion of the sebaceous gland), which darkens as it oxidizes.

Clogged hair follicles, where blackheads often occur, reflect light irregularly to produce a blackhead's "black" hue. For this reason, the blockage might not necessarily look black when extracted from the pore, but may have a more yellow-brown colour as a result of its melanin content.

Prevention is the best step towards eliminating blackheads. Avoid all facial products that are thick, greasy and oily. Use a cleanser that is water soluble and also gentle and only use a moisturizer on areas of the skin that need it. Exfoliate your skin every day with an exfoliating cream or a wash cloth, and use products to help absorb any excess oil that may be on your face during the day.

There are several treatments and remedies for blackheads that you can use to get rid of your blackheads and prevent further outbreaks.

. Apply a thin film of adapalene gel once daily before bedtime. Its mainly available in the form of "Differin".

. Exfoliate the blackhead prone area 3-4 times a week using facial exfoliators and scrubs.

. Use creams containing AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Fruit acids) like glyco-creams that will clear away any dead skin cells and "expose" the blackhead. Use the AHA's every 3 days or so.

. Avoid washing the face with soaps more than twice a day. Instead wash your face often with plain water splashes.

. If blackheads look ready to pop out, you could try removing them gently by using a blackhead extractor. This is a neat little instrument with a hole at one end, available from chemists.

. Wash your face thoroughly with warm water. Add the juice of a single lemon to a saucepan of hot water and use it to steam your face. Steam your face for at least 10 minutes. The steam also makes your face sweat and this helps to wash out your pores. You can then scrub your face lightly to get rid of any excess oil.

. Grate some carrot and cucumber. Allow the juice of these vegetables to drain so that you get at last a teaspoon of juice. Crush ½ a clove of garlic along with this juice and apply it to your face. Keep it on for fifteen minutes and then wash it off with warm water. Rinse your face with cold water and pat dry.

. Roast the skin of pomegranate and grind it. Mix this powder with lime juice and apply over the blackheads.

. Peel cucumber and place in blender. Blend until cucumber is of a pasty consistency, but not too watery. Take the mixture and apply as a face mask leaving it on face for 25 minutes.

. Steaming opens up the pores, which makes it easier to get rid of the blackheads from the chin, nose, ears and other areas of the face. Boil some fresh water in a large pot and after it comes to a boil, take it off the flame and leave it to cool for around five or ten minutes. Then cover your head with a thick and large towel, before bending it over the pot. The steam needs to permeate your skin for at least 5 to 10 minutes before the blackhead removal process can be initiated.

. Around quarter cup of honey should be applied like a face mask each night. Wash your face with warm water before applying the honey evenly. Allow your skin to soak up the moisturizing properties of the honey for at least 20 minutes or so, before washing it off with some warm water.